By NBF News

• Smith and the Vice Principal (Admin), Mr Olayinka Oyerinde displaying the president's award

The story of the Lagos State Junior Model College, Badore is like the humble rise of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Like a child of destiny, the college was choked by harsh challenging times, yet it defied the odds to claim the winner's crown.

In his declaration speech for the 2011 presidential election, Jonathan took a long walk back to his early days and recounted as follows: 'I was not born rich, and in my youth, I never imagined that I would be where I am today, but not once did I ever give up. Not once did I imagine that a child from Otuoke, a small village in the Niger Delta, will one day rise to the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.'

Likewise, when the Lagos State Junior Model College, Badore, was founded on January 6, 2003 in a remote village in Eti-Osa Local Government, it never occurred to the pioneer principal, Mrs Sidikat Titilayo Smith, that such a little star would one day rule the galaxy. Mrs Smith told Daily Sun that when the school took the second position of the 2010 President's Teachers and Schools Excellence Award, it seemed to her like a dream.

Like Jonathan in his early days in school, with no shoes, no school bags and had to carry books in his bare hands, Mrs Smith said Badore College experienced similar harsh challenging times during its inception but the indomitable spirit of the teaching staff made the difference.

'Classrooms were inadequate, hostels were crowded, teaching and non-teaching staff were grossly insufficient to meet up with the teeming population on ground. These challenges serve as a bond of unity and oneness of heart between the school and the school management', she recalled.

Explaining further, she said the school started with 1200 students, 15 staff and only 10 classrooms. 'We had to convert our administration room to classroom. The hostel accommodation was insufficient, one for the boys and one for the girls. They were about 600 in one hall. The challenges were enormous. But the PTA and the companies around came to our aid. The Ocean Energy Nig Ltd built a hostel for us that accommodated about 700 students', she said.

The PTA also assisted in building six standard classrooms for the school, and further assistance came from the state Ministry of Education. According to her, the growth of the school has been amazing as the teaching staff rose to 35, while the non-teaching staff has increased to nine as against one staff previously employed.

Like a child destined for greatness, the school survived years of adversity to emerge the Best Junior Secondary School in Education District 111, Lagos State in 2008 and 2010. It also emerged as the Best Junior Secondary School in Lagos State in 2008 and 2010. To crown these achievements, it also emerged as the second best Junior Secondary School in the country for 2010, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education.

The score sheet of the school in the recent 2010 Junior Secondary Certificate Examination showed 100 per cent performance by the candidates. The analysis of the result, made available to Daily Sun, revealed that out of the 272 candidates that sat for the examination, 259 had distinctions in English Language while 13 had credits. Also in Mathematics, 192 students had distinctions while 80 made credits. Aside two candidates that made ordinary passes in Business Studies and Basic Sciences, other students made distinctions and credits in all the 14 subjects offered by the school.

Speaking on the secret of her success, Smith said determination and diligence opened up vast opportunities that had enabled the school to attain its present position. According to her, the teachers have maintained a dogged spirit to work, so that the potentials of pupils aspiring for excellence wouldn't be constrained by the peculiar challenges facing public schools in the country.

The Principal dedicated the award to God and paid tribute to the teachers of the school and the state government for initiating projects that promote standard. She said the teachers work round the clock, embarking on Saturday classes to make up for lost lesson periods. She described the teachers as surrogate parents, whose duties in the school cannot be quantified.

The recognition of their efforts came recently when the Physical and Health Education teacher of the school, Ajia Rasheed Adewale, emerged the second runner up in the 2009/2010 Annual Merit Award organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Education.

On the challenges facing the school, the Principal requested for a school hall and a bus for the students. She said the numerous competitions involving the students of the college often compel the authority to hire commercial buses but this has been a big drain on the meagre resources of the institution.

Also speaking, Adewale described the Principal as a workaholic with a passion for students' welfare. 'There is no laziness in this school at all. Everybody must work. The principal moves around, from one class to another, monitoring the teachers. As a result of that, no teacher can be lazy. We even promised her that the next result will be better to make us claim the first prize', he said.